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City commissioners running around like chickens over hens

Staff Report • Jun 11, 2012 at 8:27 AM

Which came first? The organic egg or the backyard chicken that laid it?

The answer, if you live in most areas of Johnson City, is apparently neither. That’s because city commissioners have changed their minds on allowing residents to keep chickens in the city. As Press staff writer Gary B. Gray reported last week, commissioners have approved first reading of an ordinance to amend the zoning code to allow chickens and some other farm animals to be kept in agricultural districts of the city.

This about-face angers fans of urban fowl who live in residential zones and who want to keep chickens in their backyards.

There has been enough clucking over city chickens. The issue seemed to be settled months ago. And it was thought to be laid to rest again last week, but given the recent track record of city commissioners, no one would be surprised if commissioners change their minds yet again on the second reading June 21.

After all, it took commissioners multiple votes and a whole lot of head-scratching Thursday just to decide what to do with revenue from a proposed sales tax hike that, by the way, doesn’t have a ghost of a chance of getting approved by the voters.

As for the question we posed earlier, one answer is for organic egg enthusiasts to shop at a local farmer’s market. They might find it is cheaper than feeding their own laying hens.

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